England plump for Panesar
England have named Monty Panesar as their second spinner for the forthcoming three-Test series against Pakistan.
By Joe Drabble - Twitter: @SkySportsDrabs
Last Updated: 30/12/11 1:53pm
England have named Monty Panesar as their second spinner for the forthcoming Test series against Pakistan, while Steven Davies has been selected as back-up to Matt Prior.
Panesar, who joins reserve wicketkeeper Davies in an otherwise predictable squad of 16 under captain Andrew Strauss, played the most recent of his 39 Tests at the start of the 2009 Ashes series.
The England selectors named their latest squad on Friday morning, with Strauss once again leading the world number one ranked nation during their tour of the United Arab Emirates.
And the England skipper will lead a full-strength squad after Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad, batsman Eoin Morgan and pace bowler Chris Tremlett were all passed fit.
Broad missed the recent whitewash one-day series defeat in India with a shoulder injury, but, after a successful rehabilitation process, he has been named in the squad.
Middlesex left-hander Morgan (shoulder) and Surrey seamer Tremlett (back) also missed the trip to the subcontinent, but both return for what promises to be a tough examination against Pakistan.
Yorkshire's Tim Bresnan is also named in the touring party after successful surgery on his elbow.
National selector Geoff Miller said: "Monty Panesar, who has been playing cricket in Sydney recently, has been selected as the second spin option along with Graeme Swann.
"Monty's selection comes off the back of a strong domestic season with Sussex and with the potentially spin-friendly conditions of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in mind."
Ravi Bopara has been retained in the squad after faring well in the absence of the injured Jonathan Trott and Morgan in the fourth Test against India in the summer and then again in the home ODI series.
"Ravi Bopara has another opportunity to show his growth as a Test player, and we believe he will continue to add depth to our batting stocks for what promises to be a highly competitive series," added Miller.
"We've been very pleased with the preparations undertaken by a number of players during what continues to be a lengthy break from international cricket.
"With a long lead-in period once the squad arrives in Dubai, there will be a substantial amount of preparation time to acclimatise and adapt to the conditions."
England play three Tests against Pakistan, with the series getting under way in Dubai on Januray 17.
England squad: AJ Strauss (capt, Middlesex), JM Anderson (Lancashire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), RS Bopara (Essex), TT Bresnan (Yorkshire), SCJ Broad (Nottinghamshire), AN Cook (Essex), SM Davies (wkt, Surrey), ST Finn (Middlesex), EJG Morgan (Middlesex), MS Panesar (Sussex), KP Pietersen (Surrey), MJ Prior (wkt, Sussex), GP Swann (Nottinghamshire), CT Tremlett (Surrey), IJL Trott (Warwickshire)